Cathy Ace - The Corpse with the Platinum Hair
"...I heartily recommend this teasing little puzzle."
Twelve diners in the owner's private dining room on the top floor of a luxury casino on Las Vegas' famous Sunset Strip are suddenly isolated as the state of the art security system cuts in and the whole suite is in lock down. They are a motley assortment of guests, ranging from a Russian diva and her assistant, Shirley, the owner of the hotel and her legal assistant Julia, plus criminal psychologist, Cait Morgan, and her close friend, Bud.
When the back-up lighting kicks in, the body of Shirley is found, bizarrely stabbed with a sword. All those present are shocked and anxiously wait for the lock down to end so that the police can take over. But the security system won't respond to Julia's instructions and the group find themselves alone with the corpse and, presumably, the killer.
This is a very modern update on Christie's country house scenario and is cleverly constructed where the intricate interweaving of the plot is slowly revealed. Cait Morgan uses her prodigious memory (a useful tool for an investigator) and the practical help of her close friend, Bud, to tease out the truth, not without some lively red herrings along the way.
This tale follows the 'cozy' tradition in providing the reader with a series of puzzles to solve. To while away the time each guest outlines how they knew Shirley and it turns out that many of them had a good reason to want her dead. Cleverly each chapter describes a musical development, culminating (after another body) in a crescendo in the finale.
I enjoyed this book but perhaps not quite as much as the last one. The single suite scenario was perhaps a little too claustrophobic. However, for a relaxing holiday read I heartily recommend this teasing little puzzle.
Reviewed by: S.D.